Fantasy Matchmaking #2

Fantasy Matchmaking
INGLEWOOD, CA - JANUARY 20: Referee Mike Beltran raises the arm of Chael Sonnen (blue gloves) as he defeated Quinton Jackson (not pictured) in their Heavyweight World Title fight at Bellator 192 at The Forum on January 20, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

This is the second edition in the Fantasy Matchmaker series. We will be looking at anyone in this series, current and former fighters as well as those that compete in different promotions. This fantasy matchmaking edition will feature two of the best trash-talkers in history, an undefeated champion and a current women’s phenom.

Conor McGregor vs Chael Sonnen

Now, I have no real interest in seeing these two actually fight. Although we all always tune in when Conor McGregor fights, this one would certainly be a weird one to see. The reason this is in the fantasy matchmaking list is because of the build-up it would provide. Both McGregor and Chael Sonnen have cut some of the best promos in MMA history.

Sonnen was the original trash-talker in the UFC. Cutting one of the most famous promos in history when, following his win at UFC 136 he simply stated ‘”Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!”. This granted him the rematch (albeit after one more fight). His back and forth with Wanderlei Silva on TUF, as well as his ongoing rivalry with Tito Ortiz are some of the most memorable feuds in history.

Conor McGregor has taken trash-talk to a new level and often oversteps the mark. Notably, this occurred in the Khabib Nurmagomedov fight, where he brought Khabib’s religion into a press conference. Despite this, he has certainly dropped some of the best ‘one-liners’ in MMA history. “Who da f**k is dat guy”, “I would invade his favela on horseback”, “There are two things I really like to do and that’s whoop ass and look good. I’m doing one of them right now and on Saturday night, I’m doing the other“. 

Some of the quotes these two have come out with have been inspired. The build-up to this one would be entertaining, the press conferences would be a must-watch and the fight would likely entertain too. If these two ever did fight, we’d certainly all tune in.

Connor Deitrich‘s Pick – Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Prime Jose Aldo (155lbs)

The thought of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs a prime Jose Aldo at 155 pounds is an incredible matchup that we unfortunately, will never get to see.

At his peak, there might not be a more rounded or technically sound fighter in MMA history than Aldo. In this particular matchup, it would be his world-class takedown defence and hips that would be put to the ultimate test. Against Nurmagomedov, Aldo would be able to butcher the legs with low kicks and do a lot of damage to the body.

But, Nurmagomedov is a different beast than Aldo has ever faced. Though he’s not the same kind of fighter as prime Aldo, Conor McGregor, one of the best strikers in the world, wasn’t able to do much damage on the feet against Nurmagomedov. If ‘The Eagle’ could get Aldo to the ground, that’s when the fight would really get interesting. But he would have to take a lot of damage in order to get Aldo’s back to the cage. There are so many different ways that match could play out, and it’s a shame we’ll only ever be able to speculate.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Cris Cyborg

Alas, the first women’s fight in the fantasy matchmaking series. Wow, what a fight this one could be. Current flyweight champion and former bantamweight title challenger, Valentina Shevchenko is arguably the best striker the UFC has ever seen. When put against another phenomenal striker in Joanna Jedrzejczyk, she dominated both the striking and the ground game. What is so exciting about Shevchenko’s striking style is that she can pepper you with shots for 25 minutes, or if she decided to, knock you stone-cold, just ask Jessica Eye.

Cris Cyborg, before her fight with Amanda Nunes, was arguably the most feared woman on the planet. With 18 knockouts on her record, most recently one that saw her gain the Bellator featherweight championship, Cyborg is a scary striker. Her hard-hitting, ‘in your face’ style has been a problem for everyone (apart from Nunes) that she has faced. Her ground game is solid and she has decent cardio on top of this.

I could see Shevchenko outpointing Cyborg with her superior in and out style, utilising footwork and picking her off. On the flip side, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cyborg catch ‘The Bullet’ and finish her with ground strikes. It’s a shame that these two women aren’t in the same weight class because it would be brilliant matchmaking.

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